Events in UCIS

Thursday, October 25 until Wednesday, May 1

8:30 am Exhibit
Travelers Along the Silk Roads: 10th Century to the Present
Ground and Second Floors, Hillman Library
Sponsored by:
Center for Russian East European and Eurasian Studies along with Year of PittGlobal and Hillman Library
See Details

Free and Open to the Public during Hillman Library Hours

The term Silk Road, coined by 19th century German explorer Ferdinand von Richthofen, refers to a loose network of overland trade routes stretching from the Mediterranean to East Asia. Textiles, gems, spices, animals and even religions were all exchanged along this vast expanse, starting around 1,000 B.C. and continuing for millennia. For much of this time, most Silk Road traders coming from western Eurasia were Muslim, and they brought their beliefs and rich culture to millions of people.

A Crossroads of Ideas

While the Silk Road was a two-way route, most of its movement was eastward, carrying Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, and later, Islam.

By the 8th century, Muslims stopped thinking of religion geographically and began seeking converts along the Silk Road. The benefits of conversion to such a widespread religion were many, as Muslims preferred trading with other Muslims.

Islamic scientific and medical advancements also had significant impact on Silk Road travelers. Chinese Buddhist traders adopted Islamic medical knowledge in wound healing and urinalysis. Muslims brought India their insights on astronomy, including a skepticism of the geocentric universe.

Cultural Exchange Along the Route

Influences from Buddhist China and other regions also affected radical changes in Islam. In the 12th century, abstract Islamic art suddenly started depicting human figures, long considered forbidden in Islam. Murals showing Buddhist statues and Indian narrative artwork started appearing in mosques, and Islamic art exploded with new techniques and figures. Chinese technologies, such as paper production and gunpowder, were transmitted to the West. Iran’s art in the Mongol period (13th and 14th centuries) is dramatically influenced by Chinese artistic traditions.

The Exhibit Design

The ground floor cases in Hillman Library feature a map of the Silk Road from its Eastern terminus in the Chinese city of Xian to its western terminus in Constantinople. They also display the late-14th century Catalan Atlas, the most detailed world map of its time, showing key places along and major figures who traveled the overland route of the Silk Road. The exhibit continues on the second floor of Hillman Library in five thematic display cases:

*Horses and Dynasties: Cartography and Painting in China, 10th-14th Centuries,
*Alexander the Great, Kublai Khan, and Marco Polo: Confluences of Power and Exchange in Assia,
*Musical Encounters in the Deserts and Mountains of Central Asia,
*Explorations in Turkestan: Aurel Stein and Bamiyan, and
*New World Exploitation and the China Trade with Europe.

Friday, March 29 until Saturday, April 13

7:00 pm Film
Italian Film Festival of Pittsburgh
Frick Fine Arts Auditorium
Announced by:
European Studies Center on behalf of

Tuesday, April 9

12:00 pm Lecture
"Be a Little Careful": Performance and the Politics of Representing Slow Sexual Violence
4130 Posvar
Sponsored by:
Global Studies Center
See Details

On December 16, 2012 in New Delhi, India, a young woman and her male companion boarded a bus after seeing a film at a South Delhi theater. Instead of taking them home, the six men already on the bus brutally gang raped the woman and then dumped her and her male companion on the side of the road. Thirteen days later in a Singapore hospital, she died of the injuries she had received that night. By the time she died, the story of her rape was internationally infamous. It had sparked massive public protests and outrage throughout India. It had also shone a spotlight on the particular problem of public violence against women in urban India. Indian feminist performance artists were troubled by the way the discourse around this incident highlighted acts of extraordinary violence and effectively erased the ordinary violence all women experience on a daily basis. They argued that a focus on extraordinary violence made women afraid, made men (or at least a certain kind of man) seem inhuman, and made change appear impossible. Instead, artists such as Mallika Taneja, Jana Natya Manch, and Niranjani Iyer created performances that drew attention to what I call “slow sexual violence,” a violence so small and so stealthily normal that few think to label it violence in the first place. Through their embodied performances, these artists highlight the effects such violence has on the body and psyche of women in public space and, crucially, suggest modes for retraining the body to empower people to put an end to sexual violence no matter its scale. This talk will explore the concept of “slow sexual violence” and argue that live, embodied performance is a necessary medium for making such slow violence visible and comprehensible.

12:00 pm Lecture Series / Brown Bag
Faculty Networking Opportunity: The Global Salon
William Pitt Union, Lower Lounge
Sponsored by:
Director's Office along with Year of Pitt Global
See Details

All University of Pittsburgh faculty, tenure stream and non-tenure stream, are invited to a special series of networking opportunities made possible by the Year of Pitt Global. This Global Salon series brings together faculty and researchers from across the University to build relationships and share proposed or ongoing research. The Salons are organized around the UN's Sustainable Development Goals in five themes: People, Prosperity, Planet, Peace, and Partnership.

Goals for the Global Salon:

1. Increase local networks, build new relationships, form working groups

2. Encourage open dialogue across disciplines and develop common research agendas

3. Highlight efforts Pitt faculty undertake to address global issues

Additionally, Global Salon participants may be eligible for seed grant funding to advance multi-disciplinary research projects.

The Global Salons are free of charge, and lunch is provided, but registration is required. Register here:

Each Global Salon allows faculty to enjoy lunch while discussing their research informally through conversation groups. All faculty, regardless of full-time, part-time, or tenure status, are welcome to register.

Faculty Luncheon Series: The Global Salon

February 19 and 28, March 5 and 19, and April 9

Noon – 1:30 p.m.
William Pitt Union, Lower Lounge

Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Salon focus: Research on strategies and technologies to end poverty and hunger, in all their forms and dimensions, to ensure that all human beings can fulfill their potential in dignity and equality and in healthy environments.

Thursday, February 28, 2019
Salon focus: Research on strategies and technologies to ensure that all human beings can enjoy prosperous and fulfilling lives and that economic, social and technological progress occurs in harmony with nature.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Salon focus: Research on strategies and technologies to protect the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change to support present and future generations.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Salon focus: Research on strategies to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies that are free from fear and violence, and directed toward an understanding that no sustainable development can occur without peace and no peace can occur without sustainable development.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019
Salon focus: Research on strategies to mobilize and implement global partnerships for sustainable development, based on a spirit of strengthened global solidarity, and focused on the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable.

1:30 pm Workshop
Russian Tutoring with Katya Kovaleva
Hillman Library, Room 201D
Sponsored by:
Center for Russian East European and Eurasian Studies along with Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures
See Details

Meet with our Russian tutor Katya Kovaleva in 201D Hillman Library if you need help with your homework or want to prepare for your tests and exams.